Before moving to South America in 2008, I worked independently and couldn’t afford health insurance. Here in Colombia, where health care costs are low, I used to pay out of pocket for medications and basic services, such as a dental checkup, which costs around $25. Even so, I often went without the care I needed to avoid extra expenses.
The 2014 Fast Track Costa Rica Conference is over and done with - and as expected, it was a roaring success. I'd wager the people who attended this conference were people who had read and heard about Costa Rica's breath-taking natural beauty, very affordable cost of living, and the Pura Vida lifestyle—and were interested in seeing if it's somewhere where they could enjoy a happier retirement for less than what they are paying at home.
More affordable air travel, mounting health care costs in developed countries, long waiting lists and an ageing world population have all contributed to a global explosion of medical tourism in the past decade—and Malaysia is leagues ahead in terms of its world market share.
As International Living's Costa Rica Editor, I can comment on that country. We definitely have beaches here and the weather is warm year-round. So it fits the bill on that score...
I have a pretty standard morning routine. I’m awakened very early by roosters but stay in bed for a while as the sunrise filters into the bedroom. I start the coffee, open the sliding doors, step out to my deck, and look down into the valley below. I usually see hummingbirds buzzing around my flowers, sometimes a blue-crowned mot-mot. Some mornings one of my neighbors, a farmer, has been up even earlier...
Ecuador makes it to the top of the list for many people who are considering a move abroad. Climate, cost of living, culture, and ease of obtaining residence are some of the reasons often cited. But an often overlooked benefit is the potential for improved health due to a better diet. Most expats in Ecuador find themselves eating much more fresh produce than they did back home and the reason can be summed up in two words—variety and availability. While Ecuador does have supermarkets, every town has a centrally located farmer’s market. This is where most people prefer to shop, especially for produce. And the reason is simple. The variety of fruits and vegetables is great quality and prices are typically a fraction of what you’d pay back home. In addition, because of the climate, fresh produce is available year-round. This reduces or eliminates the need to buy frozen or canned foods.
Affordable healthcare isn’t a myth. In fact, if you look beyond U.S. borders you’ll find healthcare systems in other countries that are equally as good—if not better—than what you get at home. And you won’t have to remortgage your house to stay healthy.
No matter what politicians decide about healthcare, one thing is for sure—your Medicare coverage won’t go with you if you decide to retire overseas. Luckily, though, there are many countries where, as a legal resident, you can qualify for a local healthcare plan that’s often more comprehensive and less costly than Medicare.
Finding reasonable dental care has never been so accessible. While the price of getting extensive—or even simple—work done at home can be frightening, there are many overseas options that offer just as good a service, and at a fraction of the cost.
Healthcare costs in the U.S. continue to rise. According to PwC’s Health Research Institute, medical costs look set to grow by 6.5% this year alone. Out-of-pocket medical expenses are one of the main reasons U.S. citizens go into debt, according to the Association of Healthcare Journalists.